MANILA, Philippines – (UPDATED) Another game, another comfortable victory for the Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles.
Thanks to a torrid shooting performance and another balanced effort, the Blue Eagles overpowered the Far Eastern University (FEU) Tamaraws, 94-82, to notch their third consecutive victory in the UAAP Season 80 men’s basketball tournament on Sunday at the Araneta Coliseum.
With the victory, Ateneo improved to 3-0 and claimed solo first in the league standings, just ahead of defending champion De La Salle University (2-0). FEU, for its part, failed to build on their win over University of the East last week, and dropped to 1-2.
Thirdy Ravena tallied another strong all-around performance for the Blue Eagles with 18 points, 11 rebounds, and five assists. Veteran guard Anton Asistio set the tone for Ateneo with his hot shooting in the opening frame, and finished with 16 points, making six of his 11 field goals.
“This is a bit of a high scoring game,” said Ateneo assistant coach Sandy Arespacochaga after the game. “We shot well from the field, even from the three-point line, but we also gave a lot of points to FEU.”
“But we’re happy to come off with a win, especially since this is our third game in eight days,” he added.
Asistio waxed hot early, scoring 10 points in the opening frame to help the Blue Eagles seize a 34-22 lead after the first quarter. The Tamaraws were able to slice into the deficit in the second period thanks to Wendell Comboy, but Ateneo still carried a 55-45 lead into the break.
The Ateneo lead ballooned to 15 in the third quarter, 68-53, off a Chibueze Ikeh lay-up as the Tamaraws’ offense sputtered.
Traveling violations by Ron Dennison and Joe Trinidad compounded their issues, as did two missed charities by RJ Ramirez. A triple by Comboy and a lay-up by Prince Orizu made it a 10-point game, 58-68, with a minute to go in the third quarter, but Ateneo ended the frame on a strong note with back-to-back buckets from Gian Mamuyac and Isaac Go.
The lead grew to 18 points, 80-62, off another lay-up by Go before the Tamaraws made a last-ditch comeback attempt. Former Ateneo player Arvin Tolentino led the way for FEU, as he scored all 11 of his points in the fourth frame, including a three-pointer that made it 78-87 with still 3:36 left.
The Blue Eagles had an answer every time, however. After Tolentino drained his three-pointer, Matt Nieto responded with a triple of his own, and Ravena came through with a crucial tip-in of an Asistio miss to make it a 12-point game, 92-80, with 2:29 left.
“We still have a long way to go,” said Arespacochaga. “Our philosophy has been to look at games one at a time, and we’re still going to do that, so our minds are focused.”
Nieto finished with 11 points, and Vince Tolentino added 10 points and six rebounds. Ateneo, as a team, made 12 of their 34 attempts form beyond the arc, and shot 50% from the field for the game.
Comboy led FEU with 12 points, while Tolentino had 11 and Kenneth Tuffin finished with 10. Orizu also had 11 points, but the Tamaraws were unable to take advantage of his presence inside the paint as he only had five field goal attempts in the game.
ATENEO 94 – Ravena 18, Asistio 16, Nieto Ma 11, Tolentino 10, Go 9, Verano 7, Ikeh 6, Black 5, Nieto Mi 5, Porter 5, Mamuyac 2, Tio 0, Mallillin 0
FEU 82 – Comboy 12, Orizu 11, Tolentino 11, Tuffin 10, Dennison 8, Ramirez 7, Trinidad 7, Parker 5, Ebona 5, Cani 4, Escoto 2, Nunag 0,
Quarter scores: 34-22, 55-45, 72-58, 94-82
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